Most of my friends and associates know that I am fanatical about baseball. As bad as my Texas Rangers are, I faithfully keep up with them on a daily basis. You may ask, “Why?” and shout to me, “They stink! Your Rangers started the year in last place and will be in last place at the end of the year!” I still follow them because I love baseball and they are my team.
I have used my love for baseball to help me memorize the fruit of the Spirit. Guess what?! There are nine fruit of the Spirit and nine baseball players competing for each team. So, here we go:
Catching is the toughest position on the field. At the end of the game, the catcher is sweaty, tired, sore and the dirtiest player. The pitcher has thrown at him/her all game…many times in the dirt and the catcher has to block these pitches…ouch. And, the catcher’s responsibility is to keep the pitchers focused, counsel them constantly to stay within themselves and often get blamed if the pitcher is not throwing well. The batter swings a bat as hard as possible just inches from the catcher’s head. Sometimes as the batter follows through with their swing, the bat ends up hitting the catcher in the head…ugh! And, guess what? The catcher has to protect the plate from big fast folks who are trying to score. What a tough position! Catching reminds me of Jesus’ love. The love of Jesus is tough, resilient, sacrificial yet graceful and merciful. Love is our catcher.
I will go through the rest of the team much quicker:
Joy is playing 1st base.
Peace is playing 2nd base.
Patience is playing 3rd base. 3rd baseball is often called the “hot corner”, because he/she is positioned the closest to the batter where some of the hardest hit balls come “screaming at you.” In some ways, I prefer the old King James translation, “long suffering,” a powerful descriptive.
Then allow me to introduce to you to the four “Ness” brothers who all start on the Holy Spirit team:
Kind-Ness plays short stop.
Good-Ness plays left field.
Faithful-Ness plays center field.
Gentle-Ness plays right field.
Who’s pitching? That’s easy to figure out. “Self-Control” is His pitcher. Not “other-control” but self-control.
So, now you have His starting line-up and a way to memorize and meditate on the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And, as we know, if we are walking in the Spirit and filled with the Spirit, these will be characteristics describing what we look like as we live out life. Galatians 5 states, 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. And, in the same chapter, verse 25 declares, If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.